The Ole Ball Game

Sliding On Knees To Catch The Ball

by Kathy
(Hawaii)

Kathy asked:


My son is 13 years old and makes some very exciting catches.

The problem is he slides on his knees, and I am afraid this will lead to injuries.

Can you help settle this argument?

Rick answered:

Great question Kathy.

You are correct, the risk of injury is certainly there. At 13, your son is still growing, to include growth plates. The initial jarring taken by his knees can lead to problems later.

There is a much better and safer way to make those catches, and will result in his getting to those balls even quicker, and certainly safer.

In the photo at the top, it shows an outfielder executing a figure 4 slide to make those catches.

This is a skill he undoubtedly has, as it is one slide used in base running.

It is essential to keep his front foot up, so as not to catch his cleats in the grass. The slide is on the hip.

The body position allows the player to block the ball with his chest, should he commit and then not be able to make the catch.

The second photo shows an infielder diving for a ball to his left. This dive is the same for outfielders. Good for balls to the left and right.

Your son already has one valuable asset, his willingness to go and get any ball he can. A change in technique will make those situations safer for him.

I also have additional information on outfield fundamentals. He may find some additional items there that will be of interest for him.

Good luck as your family moves forward in this baseball adventure. It is special and will provide a lifetime of memories.

It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen!(John Wooden)


Yours in baseball,

Rick

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